Posted 12/1/17: Umbrella Group Monthly Meeting Notes from November 29, 2017

[NOTE: The Coalition meets monthly with the City of San Rafael along with two other umbrella groups (Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods and Coalition of North San Rafael) to discuss activities, concerns and/or issues that are not readily addressed directly with the appropriate City agencies or where there is concern about the City’s approach. Items are placed on the agenda by the City and/or the three umbrella groups. This provides the Coalition with an opportunity to raise issues of particular interest to residents of our area. If you have any suggestions regarding potential topics for these meetings, we urge you to let us know via the Coalition Board contact form.]

Mayor Gary Philips led the meeting. Director of DPW Bill Guerin was present to provide information. About twenty residents were present. A representative from County Supervisor Damon Connolly’s office also attended.

Items discussed were:

Neighborhood Signage: An idea to create signage for individual neighborhoods was presented. Some neighborhoods already have signs and others wish they had them. It was decided to have those at the meeting communicate with their neighbors to find out the level of interest and the level of financial support that might be available and the type of sign neighborhoods would want. Once such information is available, Bill Guerin will provide some idea of costs.

Emergency Alert System: Following the north bay fires, there has been concern about the adequacy of telephone-based alert systems because there is the possibility that phone lines and cell towers could be unable to function. Bill Guerin said he would look into the existence of any old siren systems that might be refurbished and what the cost would be. In the meantime, people should sign up for Alert Marin and Nixle.

Hetherton and Third Street Intersection: There was strong interest in having more input into decisions made about how to make changes at this intersection from the residents who actually move through this area. Dissatisfaction was expressed with the ideas coming from the consultants. Bill Guerin explained that following public input, the consultants had been instructed to create a model in which the pedestrian walkway on the southeast side of the intersection be removed so that more traffic could flow onto the highway without endangering pedestrians. He said he expects another meeting for public input will be held in the Point San Pedro corridor area. A request was made to provide the public with access to a full set of the overheads used in the presentation prior to the meeting so they can be prepared for the meeting.

Bettini Transit Center: The mayor is hoping that the Federation of Neighborhoods will set up a round table type discussion of uses for the current transit center. There was discussion of who to include in this discussion. It was pointed out that participants will need information from City staff on what has already been discussed and the reasons for dismissing any of the ideas. Amy Likover will try to organize this for a date in March.

Additional Crosswalk on Point San Pedro Road by the High School: According to the S.R. High School EIR, the estimated cost for such a crosswalk is $150,000. The school wants to have the crosswalk and the City is looking into sharing the costs. It would have a flashing light, ADA access on both sides of the street and an island in the median.

San Rafael Watershed: There was discussion of the need for a Watershed group for San Rafael similar to the Gallinas Watershed Group. There is need to capture more water upstream. Suggestions were made that perhaps Cory Bytot, Sustainability Coordinator, could head up an effort to set up such a group. It was also suggested that groups such as Marin Conservation would be interested.

BioMarin Community Meeting Space Update: The  BioMarin complex was granted additional height allowances with the stipulation that they make meetings rooms and parking available for public use. Lately they have been saying that any groups meeting there must have their own insurance. The City has objected to this new requirement and discussions are ongoing.

Flood Readiness Update: A King tide is expected on December 4th. Sandbags are available at the North San Rafael Community Center. A recurrent flooding problem on 101 was reported. Bill Guerin said that the problem is in a Caltrans area and he will point it out to them.

Announcements: The Mayor expressed concern that the public, especially in North San Rafael is not being made aware of these meetings. He plans to discuss this with the head of the Coalition of North San Rafael.  Suggestions were made to include notice of the meetings in Snapshot and on NextDoor.

District Elections: A question was asked about district vs. city-wide elections. The Mayor explained the background of the situation and told that this will be on the agenda at the December 4th and the December 18th Council Meetings. There will be a presentation of the pros and cons and the tight timetable that is required. More information can be found in City Manager Jim Schutz’s latest edition of Snapshot.